Sunday, March 30, 2014


Opening in a divorce court Jean Arthur and Lee Bowman was a divorce...right now!  The judge is willing to grant them their wish, but when Jean's father Charles Coburn tells the judge (via flashback) what really happened and then devises his own plan to make them work for their divorce the judge agrees.  See, during the flashback we learn that Jean and Lee met a year and a half ago while he was on a four day furlough in San Francisco.  It was love at first sight so they immediately got a marriage license, but then they had to wait two days to get married.  They do and on their wedding night they had an out of this world fuckfest.  So much so that she got pregnant.  Now nearly a year and a half later Lee comes home on a 30-day furlough only to find that the woman he married is a total square!  Plus she lives with her father and some sniveling boarder who's secretly in love with Jean.  The initial meeting works out horribly, so they wanna call it quits and get a divorce, but the plan Coburn sells the judge is to force them to go back to San Francisco and retrace their steps for that entire four days.  I'm sure you can guess how it ends.

From what I've read the idea for this movie was to reunite the three stars of the previous years hit THE MORE THE MERRIER: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn.  Now that would make a lot of sense, since TMTM is a delightful wartime romantic comedy that's still great even now. Arthur and Coburn both signed up, but McCrea didn't.  I don't know why, but if I had to wager a bet he probably got a whiff of that lame script and went running for the hills.

I love Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn, but you've got to have a script that works and chemistry between the two leads.  This one has neither.  With McCrea there would have been chemistry, but that still leaves the weak story.  The idea of a couple getting to know each other in a home environment after they've already been married and had a child is full of possibilities, but unfortunately everything in this possibility comes off as lazy, too convenient and forced.  Also the side story about the boarder a complete waste of time because first off it's never built up properly (the dude is a total wiener and Arthur isn't interested in him at all) and secondly it's never resolved!  One moment he's there, then boom movies over.

Lame story, zero chemistry between Lee and Jean, poor attempts at humor, interesting supporting cast with lots of familiar faces (including Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen), slow pace.  The film had its moments (I got a good giggle out of the military guy at the dance club), but there's so much better stuff out there I wouldn't really worry about it.